NEW YORK—Head Coach Michael Aufrichtig and the Columbia Fencing program announced its 2021 recruiting class on Wednesday morning as the Lions welcome 17 fencers to the 2021-22 squad.
Joining the 16-time national champion Columbia Fencing program includes 10 women and seven men. Women’s fencers include Audrey Chu (epee), Charlotte Rose Depew (sabre), Chiara Di Perna (sabre), Nika Filippov (epee), Chloe Gouhin (sabre), Christelle Ko (foil), Olive Lee (epee), Zander Rhodes (foil), Juliana Isabel Weber (sabre), and Vivian Zheng (foil). Men’s fencers are Zachary Binder (foil), Justin Haddad (epee), Timothy Lim (epee), Ethan Kushnerik (epee), Jackson McBride (sabre), and Zachary Zusin (foil). Michael Hilmer (foil) transferred to Columbia from Ohio State.
“We are thrilled to welcome the largest incoming class ever to the Columbia Fencing Family,” Columbia Fencing Coach Michael Aufrichtig said. “Together, they will have the opportunity to contribute to our tradition of excellence. We are all so excited to be back on campus and start this year’s journey to see what magic we can accomplish.”
Columbia enters the 2021-22 academic year after two years of not participating in back-to-back NCAA Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 NCAA Championships were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ivy League canceled the 2020-21 season.
Following is a list of fencers and bios for each signee:
2021 COLUMBIA FENCING SIGNEES (17)
|Zachary Binder||Men’s Foil||Armonk, N.Y./Byram Hills H.S.|
|Audrey Chu||Women’s Epee||Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto Senior H.S.|
|Charlotte Rose Depew||Women’s Sabre||Bernardsville, N.J./Bernards H.S.|
|Chiara Di Perna||Women’s Sabre||Sacramento, Calif./Rio Americano H.S.|
|Nika Filippov||Women’s Epee||Houston, Texas/Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart|
|Chloe Gouhin||Women’s Sabre||Blacklick, Ohio/Columbus Academy|
|Justin Haddad||Men’s Epee||Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair H.S.|
|Michael Hilmer||Men’s Foil||Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand H.S./Ohio State|
|Christelle Ko||Women’s Foil||Hong Kong/Kellett School|
|Olive Lee||Women’s Epee||Teaneck, N.J./Academy of the Holy Angels|
|Timothy Lim||Men’s Epee||Hong Kong/Harrow International School|
|Ethan Kushnerik||Men’s Epee||New York City, N.Y./York Prep|
|Jackson McBride||Men’s Sabre||Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert Classical Academy|
|Zander Rhodes||Women’s Foil||South Orange, N.J./Columbia H.S.|
|Juliana Isabel Weber||Women’s Sabre||East Northport, N.Y./Elwood-John H. Glenn H.S.|
|Vivian Zheng||Women’s Foil||Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville South H.S.|
|Zachary Zusin||Men’s Foil||Norwood, N.J./Dwight-Englewood School|
First-Year | Epee | Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto Senior H.S.
A 2021 graduate of Palo Alto Senior High School … Trained under club coach Zhanna Bikkina at the Academy of Fencing Masters …
Three-time USA Fencing First Team All-American (2018, 2019, and 2020) … Ranked No. 28 in Juniors (June 2021) … Finished sixth place individually in women’s epee at the May 2021 North American Cup … Finished in 10th place in the Cadet Pan American Championships in Bogota, Columbia in March 2019 … Two-time winner of the Fencing Spirit of Sport Award (2019, 2020) … Placed fourth in team epee at the North American Cup in Charlotte, N.C. in 2020 … Finished in second place at the Junior Women’s Epee as the team’s anchor at the Junior Olympics in Columbus, Ohio in February 2000 … Placed third in team epee at the Senior Team National Championships in Columbus, Ohio in July 2019 … Took seventh place in women’s team epee at the Junior Olympics in Denver, Colo., in February 2019 … Cadet Travel Team Member (2018-19) … Represented Team USA at the European Cadet Circuit World Cups and at the 2019 Cadet Pan American Championships … Three-time high school team captain (2019, 2020, 2021) … Presidential Award Silver Medalist … National AP Scholar … Earned AP International Diploma … Awarded the 2020-21 Sally Herriot Memorial Scholarship … Earned Science of Excellence Award by her school’s environmental science department … Involved in a variety of volunteer activities … Volunteered with the NAACP from June 2020-November 2020 … Motivated people to vote during the 2020 elections by making and distributing more than 800 artistic postcards … Served as site leader of the Webster House from 2019-20 … Led 20 volunteers in different activities including socializing and assisting disabled elderly members … Served as a tutor with Dreamcatchers and tutored students every week after school in math, science, and social studies … Engaged in environmental restoration projects in the Bay Area … Served as teacher’s assistant at the Palo Alto Art Center (2018-19) and in the Arts & Sciences class and ceramics class.
Born Audrey Mingjia Chu on December 15, 2002 in Mountain View, Calif. … Daughter of Ching-yao Chu and Xin Zhang … Has two younger brothers Adrian and Allan … Father attended Rochester and mother attended Peking University in China … Uncle Peter Wei attended Columbia College for a bachelor’s degree and JD … Hobbies and interests include watching Korean drama, reading novels, and being in the nature … Lived in Shanghai, China for 10 years before moving to the United States … Has played the piano for 15 years … Role model is Columbia graduate Tracey Chang, who is a former Miss New York turned news broadcaster who now has her own makeup and skincare company … Favorite sport other than fencing: ice skating … If she could compete in another sport at Columbia, it would be wrestling and diving … Has two adorable budgies (parakeets) … Selected Columbia to challenge herself academically, meet lots of new people, enjoy the city while also training and learning at such at elite place … Columbia was always her dream school and was her first choice after she attended a summer camp when she was a freshman in high school … Chose Columbia over offers from Johns Hopkins, NYU and San Diego … Enrolled at Columbia College … Intends to major in Mathematics/Biology.
First-Year | Sabre | Bernardsville, N.J./Bernards H.S.
A 2001 graduate of Bernards High School, where she lettered four years in fencing for Head Coach Jared Hammond … Coached by former Columbia fencer Stephen Kovacs at Kaprica United Fencing Academy … Finished in third place at the Division III National Championships in 2019 … Finished in 13th place at the Division II December North American Cup in 2018 … Three-time USA Fencing Academic All-American in 2019, 2020, and 2021 … Named First Team All-Skyland Conference fencer as a senior … Led her squad to three straight New Jersey state championships in 2018, 2019 and 2020 … Guided her squad to the 2018 Santelli Tournament title … Named team captain as a senior … Played lacrosse during her freshman year … Played club lacrosse … Two-time National Honor Society member … Two-time Le Grand Concours Bronze Award in ninth and 10th grade … Four-time BHS Academic Excellence Award winner … Earned 2021 New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts in Education … Involved in a variety of community service activities including working with Time-In Children’s Arts, an initiative designed to bring the arts to underserved schools in Harlem and Bronx … Fenced year-round at the Kaprica United Fencing Academy.
Born Charlotte Rose Depew on August 14, 2003 in Morristown, N.J. … Daughter of Scott and Georgiana Depew … Has two younger twin brothers Henry and Spencer … Father attended Clarkson and mother attended Albright … Discovered fencing after suffering several serious injuries in lacrosse and began seriously training/competing after her freshman year of high school … Hobbies and interests include music and adventure sports such as mountain biking, and rock climbing … Has played violin for 12 years, both as a soloist and as a member of the Central Jersey Regional, New Jersey All-State, and NAfME All-Eastern Orchestras … Won the NJMTA Young Musicians Competition … Nickname is Charlie, given by her parents in first grade … Favorite food is sushi … Actress Meryl Streep attended her high school … Chose Columbia because of the academic challenge and to experience the rich culture of New York City … Selected Columbia over an offer from North Carolina … Enrolled at Columbia College … Intends to major in Neuroscience with the goal of entering the medical field.
CHIARA DI PERNA
First-Year | Sabre | Sacramento, Calif./Rio Americana H.S.
A 2021 graduate of Rio Americana High School in Arden-Arcade, Calif. … Four-time All-American in sabre … Ranked No. 24 on the USA’s Junior Rolling Points list … Won a team Gold at the Women’s Cadet World Cup in Bulgaria in 2019 … Finished sixth individually at the Women’s Cadet World Cup in Bulgaria (sabre) … Finished in the top-8 at the North American Championships in North Carolina in January 2020 … Four-time USA Fencing Academic All-American … Competed for Premier Fencing Academy … Also competed in gymnastics, swimming, and golf … National Honor Society student … Concluded her high school career with a 4.3 grade point average … Volunteered with Breast Cancer Research, Oncology Service Line with Dignity Health, and as a patient care volunteer with Dignity in Thoracic Surgery Service.
Born Chiara Isabella Di Perna on August 7, 2003 in Los Angeles, Calif. … Daughter of Costanzo and Danielle Di Perna … Has an older brother Maximus … Father attended the University of California and mother attended Cooper Union … Mother attended post-bac and pre-med at Columbia … Her parents met at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, just minutes from Columbia’s campus … Hobbies and interests include reading, botany, and running … Avid reader, specifically of fantasy books as she has read over 100 novels prior to her first-year at Columbia … Played the flute, piano, and French horn … Favorite sports memory was winning Gold for Team USA in Bulgaria … Became interested in Columbia because of her mother’s influence, along with Columbia’s fencing team … Chose Columbia because of its incredibly high academic standards and fencing team and that it provides the best academic opportunities … Selected Columbia over offers from Stanford, Harvard, Penn, Northwestern, and Cornell … Enrolled at Columbia College … Has future goal to attend medical school.
First-Year | Epee | Houston, Texas/Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart
INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
Attended Oxford University Gap Year Program in London, England because of the COVID-19 pandemic … Studied Cross-Cultural Communication, Ethics, Values and the Law, Film Studies, Philosophy of Religion.
A May 2020 graduate of Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart … Fenced for coach Andrey Geva … Placed in the top-4 in Division 2 in 2019 … Registered a top-16 performance in Juniors in May 2021 … Placed second at the Under-14 level … Competed for the Alliance Fencing Academy … Member of the National Honor Society … President of the Women’s Empowerment Initiative … Robotics Business Lead and was a design and build team member … Named the Most Valued Group member of the National Student Leadership and Engineering Conference … Earned the Critical Thinking in Engineering and Design Award … Named the Johns Hopkins Book Award and History Excellence Award … Member of the Honor Roll … Involved in a variety of community service activities including the Houston Food Bank and Star of Hope International.
Born Nika D. Filippov on June 9, 2002 in Houston, Texas … Daughter of Dimitri and Victoria Filippov … Has four brothers and sisters: Theodore, Katherine, Danila, and Yana … Both parents emigrated from the USSR before settling down in Houston … Father attended Texas A&M and mother graduated from Houston … Speaks Russian … Enjoys yoga and playing drums … Worked a variety of jobs including as Assistant Director of Research and Development at FarUV Solutions, Owner at Flippov Consulting, Law Clerk at Flilippov Law Group, PLLC, assistant fencing coach and social media intern at Alliance Fencing Academy, and co-owner of Escrime Premier … Since she started fencing in 2013, she dreamed of competing for an NCAA Division I team … Chose Columbia for its unique opportunity in New York City and the chance to contribute to the unmatched environments of the top-tier engineering and fencing programs … Enrolled at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science … Plans to major in Mechanical Engineering.
First-Year | Sabre | Blacklick, Ohio/Columbus Academy
USA FENCING BIO | INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A 2021 graduate of Columbus Academy in Gahanna, Ohio, where she earned four varsity letters in fencing (sabre) for the Vikings … Fencing and high school coaches include Terrence Lasker, Vladimir Nazlymoz, Jason Wolff, and Dmitri Lapkes … Named to the All-American First Team in 2020 … Ranked No. 12 in the USA and No. 29 in the world in Juniors … Ranked No. 19 in the United States and No. 293 in Seniors … Member of the Cadet United States National Team … Earned Silver Medal at World Championships … Earned Silver Medal at the Pan American Championships in 2019 … Earned Bronze Medal at the Division I July Challenge in 2019 … Competes for the club Nellya Fencers in Atlanta, Ga. … Competed for the Columbus Fencing & Fitness Club … Also played lacrosse as a goaltender and defender, and one year of basketball … Earned the Best Hustle Award in basketball as a senior … Ranked second on the basketball team in rebounding average as a senior … Earned Magna Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam … Logged over 45 hours of community service with the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.
Born Chloe Tortience Gouhin on August 13, 2002 in Columbus, Ohio … Daughter of Sean and Vanessa Gouhin … Has two younger brothers Sean and Harmon … Both of her parents earned athletic scholarships to attend college … Father attended Capital and mother attended Wittenberg … Hails from a family of athletes as her brothers play a combined six sports … Mother played basketball at Wittenberg … Nickname is Gooey … Introduced to fencing at a friend’s birthday party … Began fencing at nine years old under the tutelage of Olympic champion and Ohio State coach Vladimir Nazylmov … Hobbies and interests include ceramics, knife making, self-growth, STEM, volunteering, and serving as a field technician at TechR2 … Played the viola for nine years and drums for three … Role model is Serena Williams … Favorite sports memory was winning the Under-14 Nationals … One word that describes her: determined … Former Columbia fencer Lena Johnson got her interested in Barnard in 2017 … Chose Columbia and Barnard College because she believes that it is the best place for her to prepare for the rest of her life and the curriculum and opportunities present by the school will build a strong foundation for her career … Also mentioned the phenomenal fencing team which will help her reach peak performance in the sport … Selected Columbia over offers from Cornell, Notre Dame, North Carolina, and Air Force … Enrolled at Barnard College … Plans to major in Computer Science.
First-Year | Foil | Hong Kong/Kellett School
INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A 2021 graduate of The Kellett School in Hong Kong … Member of the Hong Kong National Team since 2016 … Ranked the No. 6 women’s foilist in Hong Kong Seniors … Ranked the No. 4 women’s foilist in Hong Kong Juniors … Placed sixth in the 2018 Cadet Junior World Championships in 2018 in Verona … Took ninth place in the 2019 Cadet Senior World Championships in 2019 … Placed seventh in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina … Involved in a variety of volunteer activities including stints with an organization called Mother’s Choice and San Wui Primary School … Also has competed in netball and badminton.
Born Christelle Joy Ko on May 29, 2002 in Hong Kong … Daughter of Desmond and Eleanor Stelli Li Ko … Has an older sister Christina and younger brother Christian … Sister Christina attends Boston College and is an epeeist for the Eagles … Father attended the University of East Anglia and mother attended the University of Southern California… Hobbies and interests include tutoring, wakesurfing, hiking, and cycling … Also lists sleeping, photography and singing as hobbies … Chose Columbia to receive both a great education and fence alongside other top athletes … Also mentioned the opportunities in New York City are second to none … Enrolled at Columbia College … Plans to major in Economics … Career goal is to work in banking.
First-Year | Epee | Teaneck, N.J./Academy of the Holy Angels
A June 2021 graduate of the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, N.J. … Two-time USA Fencing First Team All-America selection (2019 and 2020) … Two-time All-Academic First Team honoree (2019 and 2020) … Finished in fifth place in Division II North American Cup in December 2018 … Competed for the Tim Morehouse Fencing Academy … National Honor Society member … National Science Honor Society member … Involved in volunteer activities including as a Research and Fundraising Assistant with Give Chances (2019, 2020) … Performed research at NYU Langone.
Born Olive Lee on February 3, 2003 in Washington, D.C. … Daughter of SooYoung Lee and Yeon Kim … Father graduated from Columbia in 1996 and competed on the Lions’ golf team … Mother attended Ehwa Women’s University … Was a competitive figure skater for nine years before suffering multiple injuries … Became interested in Columbia by visiting campus numerous times with her father … Chose Columbia and Barnard College to receive education from the best women’s college in New York City and to fence as part of the best fencing program in the Ivy League … Enrolled at Barnard College … Plans to major in Statistics with future pre-Med plans.
First-Year | Foil | South Orange, N.J./Columbia H.S.
USA FENCING BIO | INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A 2021 graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, N.J., where she fenced three years … Two-time All-America First Team selection in both 2018 and 2019 … Fenced with the United States Junior World Team in 2020 and 2021 … Competed for the United States Under-16 Cadet World Team in 2019 … Took Silver with her team at the 2021 Junior Team World Championships in 2021 … Won the 2020 Junior World Championships in San Jose, Calif … Took second place at the 2020 January North American Cup in 2020 … Placed seventh at the 2019 Cadet World Championships in 2019 … Ranked the No. 7 foil fencer in the United States and No. 88 in the world as a senior … Ranked the No. 4 foil fencer in the United States and No. 6 in the world as a junior … Named to the Academic All-American First Team in 2018 and 2019 … Competed for the V Fencing Club in Livingston, N.J. … Four-year High Honor Roll student … Earned National Merit Commended Scholar status as a student.
Born Zander Po Rhodes on May 29, 2003 in Livingston, N.J. … Daughter of Timothy Rhodes and Genalyn Po … Parents both attended NYU … Father is a chemist and mother is a Business Operations Associate … Hobbies and interests include traveling, cooking, and trying new foods … Loves Thai food … Played piano for seven years and the cello for four years … Enjoyed painting … When she was younger and one of her paintings was published in a children’s painting book … Interned at MedPrep Consulting Group during the summer of 2018 … Interned at GPC Dental during the summer of 2019 and 2020 … Tutored students in math and science in 2020-21 … Role model is her mother because she inspires her to work harder and not get complacent, she always believes in her and helps her accomplish goals that she never thought were possible … Always looked up to and admired the fencers from Columbia … Loves fencing because it combines strategy with strength and the fact that she gets to challenge herself, think, strategize and be creative against different opponents … Favorite sports memory was fencing at her first Grand Prix and defeating an Olympic medalist to make the top-32 … Career goal is to become a member of the U.S. Olympic Team … Favorite sports figure is Simone Biles … Not many people know this but she loves country music … Favorite sport other than hers: skiing … Chose Columbia for its amazing academics, fencing team, and location in New York City … Also mentioned Columbia’s support system as a key reason for her decision … Selected Columbia over offers from Notre Dame, Princeton, and Harvard … Enrolled at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science … Plans to major in Biomedical Engineering.
First-Year | Sabre | East Northport, N.Y./Elwood-John H. Glenn H.S.
A 2021 graduate of Elwood-John H. Glenn High School … Coached by Ivan Lee … Earned a Bronze medal with the United States Senior Team in women’s sabre at the 2019 July North American Cup … Ranked a top-64 sabreist at the North American Cup in January 2020 … Ranked a top-32 sabreist at the North American Cup in July 2019 … Ranked among top-90 in Junior Women’s Sabre in 2019-20 … Ranked No. 41 in the Cadet rankings in 2018-19 … Ranked No. 40 in the Under 14 and won B rating in 2017-18 … 2021 National Merit Scholar Commended student … Earned AP Scholar with Distinction honors … Graduated Summa Cum Laude … Named a 2021 Hispanic Scholar through the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Board … Three-time National Spanish Exam Award honoree including a Silver and Bronze in 2018, 2019, and 2021 … Involved in a variety of volunteer activities through her church.
Born Juliana Isabel Weber on November 14, 2003 in Long Island, N.Y. … Daughter of Alan and Geraldine Weber … Has a younger brother Matthias … Father graduated from Penn in 1991 and earned a Master’s degree at Hofstra, while mother graduated from Stony Brook … Father is a fencing coach … Father and aunt both fenced for Penn … A four-year member of the United States National Team, her father was the alternate for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team, member of the U.S. Senior World Team in 1993 and Silver medal winner with the 1995 Pan American Games team … Paternal grandfather Edgar Weber, Jr. graduated from Yale and earned a Master’s degree at Columbia, and father and aunt both attended Penn … Hobbies and interests include reading, writing, drawing, going to the beach, and taking online courses on war and diplomacy … Once played violin at Carnegie Hall when she was very young … Fences because it allows a person to become a different version of oneself that’s impossible to access at any other time … Favorite movie is the original Star Wars trilogy … Favorite home-cooked meal: empanadas … Not many people know that she is Argentinian … If she could compete in another sport at Columbia, it would be archery … Selected Columbia because she dreamed of fencing for Columbia and loves both the University and New York City … Columbia was the only school she visited as she went her sophomore year and knew that was where she belonged … Chose Columbia over offers from Duke and North Carolina … Enrolled at Barnard College … Intends to major in Political Science and Human Rights.
First-Year | Foil | Williamsville, N.Y./Williamsville South H.S.
INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A 2021 graduate of Williamsville South High School in Williamsville, N.Y. … Finished in third place at the 2019 Manchester Cadet International Tournament … Took 11th place at the 2019 European Cadet Circuit in Moedling, Austria … Finished in 10th place at the 2019 Cadet World Cup in Cabries, France … Took 16th place in the Junior Women’s Foil at the 2019 Junior Olympics … Currently ranked No. 37 on the National Junior and No. 39 on the National Senior Rolling Points lists (as of 2021) … Ranked No. 10 on the National Cadet, No. 43 on the national Junior and No. 56 on the National Senior Rolling Points lists in 2019-20 … Class Valedictorian … Four-time national finalist for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad … 12-time Honor Roll student … Two-time American Mathematics competition and qualified for American Invitational … National AP Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction … President of the National Honor Society … Earned 2021 New York State Academic Excellence Scholarship … 2021 National Merit Scholarship finalist … Involved in a variety of community service activities … Volunteer in a program called Amherst YES (Youth Engaged in Service), which includes care of elders at nursing homes and counseling at camps for young children … Volunteered as a math tutor during free periods in school … Involved in student government as Class President, Class Treasurer and Class Vice President throughout her last three years of high school.
Born Vivian Minnie Zheng on February 3, 2003 in Buffalo, N.Y. … Daughter of Zhi Zheng and Min Yang … Both parents attended Peking University in China … Mother is a physician and father is a computer programmer … Has played the piano for over 11 years … Played piano at Carnegie Hall … Used to figure skate … Nickname is Viv … Hobbies and interests including entrepreneurial experiences, talking and sharing experiences with friends, investing and searching the internet to learn about new topics … Created a business selling items online during the COVID-19 pandemic in which she sold hundreds of shoes, streetwear, and collectibles … Pursued financial interests by learning about and investing in the stock market during the pandemic … Favorite sports memory was traveling internationally to compete for the first time and feeling the pride of representing the United States … One word that describes her: resilient … Chose Columbia because it is the whole package, the fact that she will receive an amazing education in a prestigious institution that supplies endless knowledge with the opportunity to compete for the best fencing team in the nation … Also selected Columbia for its distinguished academics and city location … Enrolled at Columbia College … Plans to major in Neuroscience and Behavior … Career goals include attending medical school and becoming a physician.
First-Year | Foil | Armonk, N.Y./Byram Hills H.S.
INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A June 2021 graduate of Byram Hills High School in Armonk, N.Y. … Currently ranked the No. 24 USA Junior in rolling points … Finished second at the Cadet Junior Olympics in 2018 … Placed second at the Cadet North American Cup in 2019 … Took 10th at the Mödling Cadet Circuit in 2019 … Placed in top 8 in Division 1 during the July Challenge in 2017 … Fences for the Tim Morehouse Fencing Club … Cum Laude inductee … World Language Honor Society member … Mu Alpha Theta inductee (Math Honor Society) … Involved in the community as he gives fencing lessons to young children in town.
Born Zachary Bryan Binder on May 21, 2003 in New York, N.Y. … Son of Jeffrey and Cindy Binder … Has two sisters Sylvie and Abby …. Sister Sylvie won the individual NCAA women’s foil championship in 2019 … Both of his parents attended Johns Hopkins … Favorite part about fencing is the process of getting better every day, working hard at every practice and the thrill of competing … Favorite home-cooked meal is a dish called “sweet potato mush” … One word that describes him: disciplined … Loves playing pickup basketball and is a New York Knicks fan … First became interested in Columbia at age 12 when his older sister committed to fence for the Lions in 2016 … Chose Columbia because he wants to be surrounded by teammates who are driven and passionate both athletically and academically, and the fact that Columbia gives him the opportunity to become the best fencer, student and person he can be … Selected Columbia over Harvard, Princeton, and Notre Dame … Enrolled at Columbia College … Intends to major in Political Science.
First-Year | Epee | Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair H.S.
INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A June 2020 graduate of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md. … Fenced for a variety of high school and club coaches including Robert Suchorski, Byron Neslund, Janusz Smolenski (DC Fencers Club, 2013-2020), and Vladimir (“Bob”) Meshkoff (Chelsea Fencing Club, London, 2009-2013) … Three-time USA Fencing All-American (2017, 2018, 2019) … Three-time USA Fencing Academic All-American (2017, 2018, 2019) … Ranked No. 6 in the USA’s Junior Rolling Points in men’s epee … Won Gold at the Under-17 Junior Olympics in 2019 … Won Gold at the 2019 High School Invitational … Finished among the top-8 at the Espoo Cadet World Cup in 2018 … Placed sixth at the Espoo Cadet World Cup in 2017 … Finished among the top-8 at the North American Cup … Fenced for the club team DC Fencers Club … Eight-time Honor Roll recipient … Involved in a variety of community service activities … Created charity fencing tournament with clubmate Yunice Pyo for the Children’s National Hospital, which raised around $7,000 over two years and was on pace to raise $10,000 before the COVID pandemic … Completed a summer research internship during his senior year.
Born Justin Robert Haddad on May 16, 2002 in Bethesda, Md. … Son of Robert and Susan-Kim Haddad … Has one sister Alexandra … Both of his parents are Columbia University graduates, his father is a 1985 Columbia College graduate and mother is a 1990 Barnard College graduate … Sister graduated from Barnard College in 2021 … Aunt Lisa (Kim) deSantis graduated from Barnard, uncle Emanuele deSantis earned an MBA from Columbia in 2008, and uncle Gabriel Haddad earned four degrees from Columbia University … Stands 6-feet-5-inches tall … Fluent in French … Hobbies include coding … Lists his father as his role model … Favorite sports memory was winning Gold at a Junior Olympics event in 2019 … Favorite class is Multivariable Calculus … Favorite sport other than fencing is ultimate frisbee … Worked at healthcare MultiPlan Inc, as a software developer … Began fencing when he couldn’t find a Tae-Kwon Do training facility and ended up joining a club with the coach would become Great Britain’s women’s epee coach in 2012 London Olympics: Vladimir (Bob) Meshkoff … Began fencing in London … Chose Columbia because of the excellence it provides in both athletics and academics, the chance to live in New York City, and the fact that he knew it was the best place for him to improve on his fencing over a four-year period … Selected Columbia over offers from Harvard, Yale, Penn, and Princeton … Enrolled at Columbia College.
Sophomore | Foil | Madison, Conn./Ohio State/Daniel Hand H.S.
2021-21 AT OHIO STATE
As a freshman, fenced in one bout at Ohio State … Earned USFCA Scholar of Distinction honors … Named an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete … Dean’s List student.
A June 2020 graduate of Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Conn., where he fenced for Head Coach Michael Ginsburg … Two-time All-State honoree as both a junior and senior … Finished fifth in the Connecticut high school state championships in foil while helping to guide the Tigers to their first-ever state title in 2020 as asenior … Went 51-7 as a senior … Three-year varsity letterwinner … Finished in sixth place at the state championships as a junior … Earned team Most Valuable Teammate award as a junior … Finished in sixth place at the state junior varsity tournament as a sophomore … Fenced with Fencers School of Connecticut … Nominated for the Presidential Scholars Program … National Honor Society member … Involved in a variety of charitable organizations including APK Charities as he aids veterans, wounded soldiers, and families of fallen soldiers.
Born Michael Quinn Hilmer on February 23, 2002 in Greenwich, Conn. … Son of David and Dana Hilmer … Has two brothers Zachary and Daniel … Nickname is Mikey … His parents attended Wisconsin … Hobbies and interests include hiking backcountry, ultimate frisbee, reading, spending time with friends, studying constitutional law, and eating … First job was as a soccer referee … Used to make wooden swords out of 2x4s with his brothers and fenced in the backyard … Became interested in fencing while watching the Olympics … After the Olympics, he found a club in his town and immediately fell in love with the sport … One word that describes him: persistent … Chose Columbia because it has always been his dream school … Became interested in Columbia while visiting the Brooklyn Bridge Fencing Club, where he met former Lions fencer Sam Moelis, who took him under his wing and helped him … Also mentioned he loves the city, the people and staff that he’s met, the team, the academic community and the Core Curriculum … Enrolled at Columbia College … Majors in Political Science with a plan of attending law school.
First-Year | Epee | Hong Kong/Harrow International School
INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A 2021 graduate of Harrow International School/Singapore American School in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong … Earned USA Fencing First Team Academic All-America honors in 2020 … Placed third at the Junior International Regional Circuit in 2019 … Took third place at the Merlion Championship in Singapore in 2018 … Competed in two years of fencing at Harrow during his junior and senior seasons … Guided his squad to the ISSFHK International Schools fencing team championship in the 2019-20 season … Registered an individual runner-up finish in men’s epee at the ISSFHK International Schools fencing championships in 2020 … Three-time fencing team captain (2019-21) … Also competed in golf as a freshman and sophomore and tennis … Named Head Boy at Harrow … Earned Scholar’s List honors during all terms at SAS … Earned Bronze medal at the 2019 UK Senior Mathematics Challenge … AP Scholar in 2019 … Earned the Stanford-Sutter Health Science Communication Prize in 2020 … Involved in a variety of community service activities … C-founded a service club linking high school students and service opportunities at a children’s home in Singapore … Also attended Singapore American School … Fenced for Canada.
Born Timothy David Lim on November 28, 2002 in Los Angeles, Calif. … Son of Wei Min (David) and Sui Ming Frances Tong … Both of Has a brother Julien Kenneth Lim … Both of his parents graduated from the University of Southern California … Stands 6-feet-5-inches tall … Hobbies and interests include golf, playing the piano and violin, cryptocurrency, and mining … Also plays the drums and saxophone … Nickname is Timmy Limmy … For three years, he traveled between Singapore and Hong Kong every few weeks to train with his coach there … In third grade, he wrecked a go kart and almost crashed into the Singapore River … First heard of Columbia when he was in the fourth grade … Favorite food is Hokkien Mee noodle … One word that describes him: tenacious … Favorite sports memory was his first World Cup competition in Riga Latvia where he won his first-ever international bout … Notable individuals who attended his high school include Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, Robert Peel, and Jawaharial Nehru … Chose Columbia because of its location in New York City, fencing program, and core curriculum … Enrolled at Columbia College … Intends to major in Biology with a goal of performing medical research.
First-Year | Epee | New York City, N.Y./York Prep
USA FENCING BIO | INTERNATINAL FIE BIO/RESULTS
A May 2021 graduate of York Prep in New York City, N.Y. … Coached by former Columbia coach Aladar Kogler and Misha Mokretsov … Ranked No. 2 in the USA Junior Rolling Points, No. 1 in Cadet in 2020 … Member of the 2020 USA National Cadet World Team … Won 2020 Cadet Junior Olympic championship in epee … Took seventh place at the Bratislava Cadet European Cup in 2020 … Took eighth at the January North American Cup Junior … Won Bronze Medal at the January Division 1 North American Cup in 2020 … Won Gold at the Cadet Pan American Championships in 2019 … Took Silver as a team at the Bratislava Cadet European Cup … Earned Bronze in the October Cadet North American Cup in 2019 … Finished seventh at both the Grenoble Cadet European Cup (team) and at the USA Fencing Junior Olympic Championships in 2019… Won three Gold medals in 2018 including the Klagenfurt Cadet European Cup (team), USA Fencing National Championships, March North American Cup and a Silver medal at the Cadet July Challenge … Fences at New York Athletic Club and New York Fencing Academy.
Born Ethan Kushnerik on July 20, 2003 in New York City, N.Y. … Son of Vadim and Karina Kushnerik … Has two older brothers Gabriel and Brandon and a younger sister Isabella … Father graduated from Clark and mother from LIU … Mother is a journalist … Father did his graduate and post-graduate training at Columbia Medical School and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center … Father competing in rowing in college and grandfather is a Master of Sports in Russian rowing … Father introduced him to sport of fencing at age nine and he’s loved it ever since … Fences because it is fun and the best part of fencing is winning … Hobbies and interests include rock climbing and playing chess … Favorite food is sushi … Chose Columbia because he wants to fence at NCAA Championships and obtain a great education … Also chose Columbia for its world-renowned faculty, excellent academics, and top fencing program led by one of the most attentive and supportive coaches I have ever met in Michael Aufrichtig … Selected Columbia over offers from Princeton, Yale, and Harvard … Enrolled at Columbia College … Intends to major in Mathematics and pre-Med … Has future plans of becoming a surgeon.
First-Year | Sabre | Gilbert, Ariz./Gilbert Classical Academy
USA FENCING BIO | INTERNATIONAL FIE BIO
A May 2020 graduate of Gilbert Classical Academy in Gilbert, Ariz. … Fenced for coach Will Becker … Member of the 2021 United States Junior National Team … Earned Bronze Medal at World Cup … Ranked No. 3 in the USA Junior Rolling Points, No. 9 in International and No. 3 in Sosnowiec Junior World Cup rankings … Placed 13th at the Warsaw World Cup … Also competed in hockey … Helped lead his hockey to team a second place finish in 2019 … Helped USA finish fourth at the 2021 Junior World Championships … Registered team Silver medals at the Junior Pan American Championships and Boston Junior World Cup in 2020 … Took Silver as a team at the Sochi Junior World Cup in 2019 … Fences at the Phoenix Fencing Academy and Fencers Club of Arizona … National Honor Society member.
Born Jackson Reese McBride on December 27, 2001 in Sydney, Australia … Son of John and Suzi McBride … Has a younger brother Carter … Both of his parents are engineers … Father graduated from Arizona State, while mother graduated from Columbia’s Engineering School … Nickname is Jax … Hobbies and interests include fencing, fashion, and finance/economics … Favorite fencing memory was winning the Bronze medal at the Sosnowiec Junior World Cup … Something you would be surprised to know about him: he was born in Australia … If he could play another sport at Columbia, it would be football … Chose Columbia because he wants to win championships with the fencing program and the Economics program is outstanding … Selected Columbia over offers from NYU, Notre Dame, and Princeton … Enrolled at Columbia College … Plans to major in Economics.
First-Year | Foil | Norwood, N.J./Dwight-Englewood School
A June 2021 graduate of Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, N.J. … Fenced for coaches Slava Grigoriev, Renal Ganeev, and Anya Katkova … Named a 2018 and 2019 United States Fencing Association First Team All-American … Regional Gold Point Winner of the US Fencing Association in 2019 and 2020 … Named to the US Fencing Association Academic All-American in 2018 and 2019 … Placed ninth at the January North American Cup in 2020 … Took 29th place on the European Circuit in November 2019 in Cabries, France … Finished in fifth place on the European Circuit in November 2019 in Modling, Austria … Fences out of the Fencing Academy of Westchester … Eight-time Honor Roll student … Selected in 2020 as an AP Scholar With Honors by The College Board … Earned the Davies Award in 2019 … Earned Outstanding Achievement in the French Language Award in 2016 and 2017 … Involved in a variety of community service activities … Smithsonian Institution Digital volunteer in 2020 … Volunteered with the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization in 2019 and 2020 (MEVO) … Served as an Admissions Tour Guide at Dwight-Englewood School in 2019 and 2020.
Born Zachary William Zusin on June 30, 2003 in Englewood, N.J. … Son of Boris and Vilena Zusin … Has an older sister Gabriella … Father attended Brooklyn College, then NYU and mother attended City University of New York … Father is a dentist and mother is a dentai hygienist … Sister graduated from Cornell and competed in fencing, and cousin Samuel Morton attended Dartmouth … Entire family immigrated to the United States from the Soviet Union … Hobbies and interests include playing the violin and collecting Soviet antiques … Role model is his father because of his endless curiosity for knowledge and ability to solve any problem presented to him … Loves fencing because it allows him to engage in an extremely challenging and high intensity mental and physical activity at the same time … Favorite book is the Myth of Sisyphus … One word that describes him: Analytic … Became interested in Columbia while attending the school’s summer fencing camp and fell in love with the philosophy of the team and atmosphere of the campus … Chose Columbia to be able to pursue academics and fencing at the highest level while experiencing New York City … Enrolled at Columbia College.